Occupational Therapist Team
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Did you know that practising the movement involved in scissor skills can help children write. Learning to use scissors develops the skills required to control a pencil. Both motions need the muscles that oppose the index and middle finger with the thumb working together.
learning new skills can sometimes feel monotonous to children. However it doesn’t have to be this way.
Helpful Scissor Activities
The following activities are designed to develop the muscles and movements required to manipulate scissors. In time, the ‘open close’ squeeze action of the arch between thumb and fingers will become stronger. You may need to help your child make the movements with some hand over hand guiding to get started.
Use tongs to pick up large pom poms, aluminium foil balls, lightweight plastic toy items, blocks, lumps of play-dough. You can also incorporate food play e.g. picking up cooked spaghetti.
Once skills with the activity improve, you can use smaller items, cotton balls, small pompoms. Food items can be used such as marshmallows, small fruits, large nuts, pieces of bread, using the tongs to dip into sauce or icing sugar onto a plate or ice cube tray. It is important to always place items working from left to right, top to bottom, because later when a child learns to read, scanning left to right is required.
2) Water pistol play
These can be used to shoot balloons, or paint with water on the concrete. If you are game, supervised painting activities are fun on an outside easel with different colours for little water pistols. It is very good for index finger strength. Make sure your child is using their dominant hand.
3) Ripping activities
Cut strips of coloured paper to rip into small pieces. Some types of paper for example crepe or tissue paper, have a grain and are easier to rip in one direction. Grasping the top of the paper strip with both hands and moving the hands in opposite directions to rip it. Small pieces can be used for collage, the long pieces can be ripped to make jelly fish tentacles, cloud with rain, pretty bird with a long tail, or long hair, grass and so on.
4) Hole punching
A single hole punch is good to improve palm strength. Holes can be punched in a line on card, or make patterns. Lace the card with shoe lace or string, or connect the holes with crayon lines.
5) Bubble wrap
Small size bubbles, these are perfect for pinching with the index finger and thumb, this strengthens the muscles within the finger and thumb, which will help scissor skill development as well as controlling a pencil.
6) Monster ball
You can use a cheap tennis ball and cut a slit for a mouth and stick on eyes. Squeeze the tennis ball thumb and fingers, using the dominant hand. With the other hand ‘feed the ball’ with small pom poms, dice, . The resistance of the tennis ball will be determined by the length of the slit; the longer the slit the easier to open the ‘mouth.’
7) Hand puppets
Making hand puppets talk encourages practice opening and closing the fingers and thumb in time with speech. You can make one using a single spare sock, buttons for eyes and wool for hair. Make it eat and grab, bite and tug.
Play dough, especially extra firm dough is excellent for improving fine motor strength. Use a garlic press to squeeze playdough through and make spaghetti hair, squeeze the handles using both hands together.
For the Beginner starting with Scissors
Keep in mind, “both thumbs up”, the dominant hand does the squeezing action “open-shut” steady at the midline of the body, the other “helping” hand manipulates the item to be cut.
Practice cutting action using small sized scissors, cutting strips of playdough, cutting a circle of playdough into ‘pizza’, snipping pieces of straw, coloured wool, spaghetti!
2) Snipping short lines
Make strips of light coloured card narrow enough so that one snip is successful. Draw horizontal lines. These can be snipped off and artwork can be created with the geometric pieces cut.
Collect paint sample cards from your hardware shop for cutting practice, snip between the colours.
3) ‘Stop point’. Put a sticker or draw a face at the destination point for the end of one snip, with no line as a guide.
Early scissor skills involves ‘snipping’, first things like playdough, spaghetti, wool, straws…then develops to just one short line. More information on the next stages of scissor skills is to come in a later post.
And of course if you are worried about any aspect of your child’s fine motor skills you are welcome to contact Reception for more information about our occupational therapy services on 9274 7062.
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A provisional psychologist is someone who has completed their tertiary qualifications and is undertaking a program of supervision as they develop their applied skills “on the job”. Typically this can involve one to two years of weekly supervision with a senior psychologist.
Supervision is where the provisional psychologist discusses the work they are doing with clients (in our case children and young people) with a senior colleague. It’s a space for them to check in that they are being helpful for the client. It’s also a space for the supervisor to make sure that client’s needs are being met by the provisional psychologist.
Who are the provisional psychologists in the Centre?
At the Child Wellbeing Centre we have four provisional psychologists on our team. Two have completed masters level qualifications in psychology & two have extensive experience working with children in other behaviour therapy roles. Our provisional psychologists are:
Each comes with their own background of qualifications and experience. The one thing they all have in common is an enthusiasm and commitment to work with children. You can read a bit more about them on our website:
Why might I consider a provisional psychologist for my child?
As provisional psychologists aren’t eligible to offer Medicare rebates, they charge out at a much lower rate than the registered psychologists in the Centre. They aren’t limited in the number of sessions they can provide either. When working with families, they are still doing exactly the same things a fully registered psychologist would be doing with a family. However they have a psychologist on call that they can check in with to make sure they are heading in the right direction.
They are also required to do extensive professional development each year which means they are regularly learning about different ways to help their client.
Not all clients will be referred to our provisional psychology team in the Centre. We try to make sure that clients are matched with the psychologist with the right skills mix. However you are welcome to enquire about seeing a provisional psychologist if you think this is an option for your child.
Please contact reception for more information about our provisional psychologists or any of our other services on 9274 7062.